The Ancestry of Fatah

As we have seen in part one of this article,[1] the PLO was a radical, millenarian, terrorist organization from the day it was formed. However, it was not initially led by Yasser Arafat and it was not then the most radical Palestinian group. That title went to Fatah, which was led by Arafat. Here is historian Howard Sachar (emphases are mine):

??in February 1967 the PLO leader [Ahmed Shukeiry] was wounded in an assassination attempt. For the while, as a result, the organization was at least partially immobilized by factional intrigues.

?Not so a rival, and even more radical Palestinian group in Syria, the Fatah (Arab Liberation Movement), organized several years earlier by veterans of the Mufti?s former Arab Higher Committee [and led by Yasser Arafat].?[2]

So Fatah, even more radical than the original PLO, was organized by veterans of the Mufti's Arab Higher Committee. To understand the ideological basis of Fatah, then, it makes sense to examine the beliefs and actions of the founder and supreme leader of the Arab Higher Committee, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who dominated the Palestinian movement starting in 1920, when he first organized coordinated terrorist attacks on Jews in Palestine, until his death in 1974.

Time magazine?s Michael Elliot tells us that Arafat's Fatah had ?a conventional agenda for national liberation.? But was the Mufti, whose Arab Higher Committee begat Fatah, a ?conventional national liberator??

Only if seeking the complete extermination of another people is ?conventional.?

The Mufti was a tireless anti-Semitic agitator in the British mandate area covering what is now Jordan and Israel throughout the 1920s and 1930s. He organized murderous attacks on Jewish and Arab civilians, culminating in the terrorist mayhem of 1936 known as the ?Arab Revolt.? This organized terrorist campaign was armed by Hitler's Axis and led by the Arab Higher Committee, which the Mufti had formed that same year of 1936.[3] By that time, he was a Nazi secret agent, and hunted by the British?

The New York Post, 23 Feb, 1948:

?...The ex-Mufti escaped from Jerusalem and Palestine in the garb of a woman. In Syria he was on Mussolini?s payroll. When, with the beginning of the war, his position in Syria, a French mandate, became ?insecure,? he escaped to Iraq. There he worked hard and succeeded in [organizing a coup,] bringing Iraq into the war against the Allies, the declaration of war having been made on May 2, 1941. At that time the Nazis? entered Greece and Egypt.

?When the revolt was crushed (mainly by the Jewish volunteers from Palestine), the ex-Mufti escaped to Iran and hid himself in the Japanese Embassy there. From Teheran he escaped to Italy, where his arrival was announced by the Fascist radio as a ?great and happy event?; in November, 1941, he arrived in Berlin and was received by Hitler. In 1942 the ex-Mufti organized the Arab Legion that fought the American invasion in Africa??[4]

So, Hajj Amin was received by Hitler. What did they discuss at this 1941 meeting? The following excerpt is taken verbatim from a ?Memorandum By An Official of the Foreign Minister?s Secretariat?, a Nazi document summarizing the Mufti?s meeting with Hitler:

?The F?hrer then made the following statement to the Mufti, enjoining him to lock it in the uttermost depths of his heart -

?1. He (the F?hrer) would carry on the battle to the total destruction of the Judeo-Communist empire in Europe.

?2. At some moment which was impossible to set exactly today but which in any event was not distant, the German armies would in the course of this struggle reach the southern exit from Caucasia.

?3. As soon as this had happened, the F?hrer would on his own give the Arab world the assurance that its hour of liberation had arrived. Germany?s objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power [my emphasis]. In that hour the Mufti would be the most authoritative spokesman for the Arab world. It would then be his task to set off the Arab operations which he had secretly prepared. When that time had come, Germany could also be indifferent to French reaction to such a declaration.?[5]

The same document states that the Mufti, ?was fully reassured and satisfied by the words which he had heard from the Chief of the German State.?

That is, he was ?fully reassured and satisfied? that Hitler would (1) help him carry out the destruction of all Jews living in the Arab sphere and, (2) based on that Final Solution, make him ?the most authoritative spokesman in the Arab world.?

To call the Mufti a ?millenarian terrorist? doesn't quite do him justice.

From the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust:

??[The Mufti Hajj Amin al] Husseini made his contribution to the axis war effort in his capacity as a Muslim, rather than as an Arab leader, by recruiting and organizing in record time [my emphasis], during the spring of 1943, Bosnian Muslim battalions in Croatia comprising some twenty thousand men. These Muslim volunteer units, called Hanjar (sword),[6] were put in Waffen-SS units, fought Yugoslav partisans in Bosnia, and carried out police and security duties in Hungary. They participated in the massacre of civilians in Bosnia and volunteered to join in the hunt for Jews in Croatia... [my emphasis] The Germans made a point of publicizing the fact that Husseini had flown from Berlin to Sarajevo for the sole purpose of giving his blessing to the Muslim army and inspecting its arms and training exercises.?[7]

In other words, the Mufti enthusiastically participated in the Final Solution. The civilians whom his Waffen SS troops hunted included thousands of Serbian and Roma ('Gypsies') who were killed with a brutality that shocked the German Nazis. After the war, the Yugoslav government issued a warrant for the Mufti?s arrest for war crimes.... The Western allies captured him in Germany. They should have tried him for war crimes at Nuremberg or turned him over to Yugoslavia. Instead, he mysteriously escaped to Cairo.

From the New York Post, 23 Feb, 1948:

?In August 1945, Yugoslavia asked that the ex-Mufti be placed on the official list of war criminals. What is the reason for the failure to bring him to trial in Germany, where he was captured when Germany collapsed?

??according to the Charter of the International Tribunal at Nuremberg, the ex-Mufti is a criminal on all three counts, for crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.?[8]

Was the Mufti discreetly allowed to escape? Did the Mufti's World War II enemies find new uses for him in the Middle East now that a new era had begun? If they did, this would be consistent with how Britain used the Mufti before the war, for in fact, it was the British colonial government that elevated Hajj Amin al-Husseini to the status of ?Mufti?.

Britain Creates A Mufti
The history of Jewish-Arab relations in Palestine might have been very different were it not for the dramatic support the British gave to Hajj Amin al-Husseini, a dangerous anti-Semite whom the British elevated to power as soon as he proved that he would ?demagogue? Arab politics to generate violence against the Yishuv, old and new.

As per historian Uri Milstein: ?Haj Amin was the prime instigator of the 1920 riots against the Jews of Jerusalem. For that, he was tried and sentenced to ten years imprisonment, but British intelligence officers helped him flee. One year later, the Jewish High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel, pardoned him, had him brought back to Palestine and appointed him Mufti of the city - even though he was not one of the three candidates for the office - due to pressure from British officials and officers of the Cairo school, which was fostering Arab nationalism in the hope of making it a basis for British control of the region.?[9]

So the British rewarded the Mufti for organizing bloody riots against defenseless Jewish civilians by making him the supreme authority among Arabs in Palestine. But they didn't stop there. After anti-Jewish riots again took place in 1921,[10] the British, in 1922, once again rewarded the Mufti.

From the Library of Congress ?Country Study?:

?In 1922 [Samuels] augmented Hajj Amin?s power by appointing him president of the newly constituted Supreme Muslim Council (SMC), which was given wide powers over the disbursement of funds from religious endowments, fees, and the like.?[11]

In this way, Britain sent a clear message: the way for a Palestinian Arab to get ahead as a politician was to organize terrorist attacks on Jewish civilians. The Mufti heard this message loud and clear. He used his British-granted powers and funds to displace competitors and push Arab politics to anti-Semitic extremes:

?By heading the SMC, Hajj Amin controlled a vast patronage network, giving him power over a large constituency. This new patronage system competed with and threatened the traditional family-clan and Islamic ties that existed under the Ottoman Empire. Traditional Arab elites hailing from other locales, such as Hebron and Haifa, resented the monopoly of power of the British-supported Jerusalem-based elite?

?Tension between members of Arab elites was exacerbated because Hajj Amin, who was not an elected official, increasingly attempted to dictate Palestinian politics. The competition between the major families and the increased use of the Zionist threat as a political tool in inter-elite struggles placed a premium on extremism. Hajj Amin frequently incited his followers against the Nashashibis [a competing clan] by referring to the latter as Zionist collaborators.?[12]

With spectacular attacks in 1929,[13] and then again in 1936-37,[14] Hajj Amin al-Husseini incited even more terror against Jewish civilians.

Though revisionists portray Hajj Amin al-Husseini as an anti-colonial fighter, he was a creation of the British colonial government and presided over ?the British-supported Jerusalem elite?. Moreover, he never behaved as a nationalist, but as a hypocritical elitist.[15] It is because of this British support that the Mufti became, and remained until his death, the most important leader of Arabs in the disputed territories. For many years, his Arab Higher Committee was the official representative of Palestinians.[16]

After Hajj Amin al-Husseini's death in 1974, the relatives of this fascist anti-Semite continued to wield decisive influence in Palestinian organizations. Case in point: Yasser Arafat. As Howard Sachar explains (my emphasis): ?The Fatah leader?s actual name was Abd al-Rahman abd al-Rauf Arafat al-Qud al-Husseini. He shortened it to obscure his kinship with the discredited ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Muhammad Amin al-Husseini.?[17]

It is of course true that nobody is responsible for the politics of their relatives. So, in principle, Arafat could be a tolerant man dedicated to peace with the Jews, even though his clan relative, the Mufti, was a genocidal terrorist and a top Nazi, who played a leading role in Hitler's Final Solution. But the issue isn't merely blood ties. The Arab Higher Committee was the Mufti?s organization, and Arafat?s Fatah, an organization even more radical than the millenarian terrorists in the original PLO, was founded by veterans of the Arab Higher Committee (see opening quote by Sachar).

As if that were not enough, Arafat has made explicit how proud he is that he cut his teeth in the Mufti?s service.

?I Was One of His Troops,? Boasts Arafat
In today?s world of media-hype politics, labels are all-important. The media defines Arafat and other Palestinian terrorists as being corrupt, yes, and opportunists, too, but secular, relatively moderate, and the best alternative to the really terrible Islamist terrorists. This creates a mental image that allows people who would never support a Nazi to support Arafat?s faction. To help cultivate this image, Arafat and other Palestinian terrorist leaders avoid the messy subject of Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Nazi, when speaking to non-Arabs. But apparently, Arafat has no such inhibition when addressing Arabs.

Here is what Arafat told an interviewer from the pro-PLO, London-based, Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat. His comments were picked up by a leading Palestinian daily:

Interviewer: ?I have heard voices from within the [Palestinian] Authority in the past few weeks, saying that the reforms are coordinated according to American whims??

Arafat: ?We are not Afghanistan?We are the Mighty People. Were they able to replace our hero Hajj Amin al-Husseini? ...There were a number of attempts to get rid of Hajj Amin, whom they considered an ally of the Nazis. But even so, he lived in Cairo, and participated in the 1948 war, and I was one of his troops.?[18]

So, Arafat got his start as the Mufti?s lieutenant. Later, following the path blazed by the Mufti, Arafat?s Fatah displaced its rivals and asserted its power by violently attacking Palestinian civilians and other Arabs who challenged it.[19] And, according to Sachar, Fatah was also Islamic fundamentalist from the beginning (my emphasis): ?From the outset? the Fatah?s reputation depended largely upon the success of its Moslem traditionalist approach of jihad against Israel, and upon conventional infiltration methods.?[20]

A Jihad or holy war is conducted against ?infidels? not because of anything they do, but because of what they are: infidels.

Given all this, how should we view the statement made by Time?s Michael Elliott that, ?In the 1970s, the Palestine Liberation Organization, murderous though it was, was rigorously secular???[21]

Well, we can view it as a statement made in surprising ignorance of the facts. Or else, we can view it as a lie, because it is no secret that from 1970 onwards, Fatah, which had a ?Moslem traditionalist approach of jihad,? had taken over the PLO.

Sachar, again:

?By [1970]? the splinterization of the guerilla ranks largely dictated the altered nature of their offensive against Israel. Nominally, most of them belonged to an umbrella coordinating federation, the Palestine Liberation Organization. Yet this prewar, Egyptian-dominated group had been seriously crippled by the June debacle, and its leader, Ahmed Shukeiry, had been forced into retirement. Since then, the PLO had experienced less a revival than a total reincarnation of membership and purpose under the leadership of Yasser Arafat. Consisting ostensibly of representatives of all guerilla organizations, the PLO in its resurrected form was almost entirely Fatah-dominated, and Arafat himself served as president of its executive. In this capacity he was invited to attend meetings of the Arab League, and won extensive subsidies from the oil-rich governments of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf [emphases are mine].?[22]

Thus, while it is a common view around the world that Arafat?s PLO is a secular and even leftist counter-balance to the Islamist Palestinian groups, and to the ultra-conservative Islamist oil states, the truth is quite different. It was the Islamist oil states that financed the PLO?s ?total reincarnation of membership and purpose under the leadership of Yasser Arafat.? They did this in such a way that the PLO became ?almost entirely Fatah-dominated.? And this is the same Fatah whose ?reputation depended largely upon the success of its Moslem traditionalist approach of jihad against Israel.?

[Part III of this series can be read at /article.php3?id=2530]

[1] See Part 1 of this article, at: /article.php3?id=2322
[2] Sachar, Howard Morley - A History of Israel: From the rise of Zionism to Our Time, Howard M. Sachar. 1982, c. 1979. (p.619)
[3] To read about the terrorism of the Arab Revolt, go here:
[4] ?Ex-Mufti, Criminal Ally? by ?Observer? (Immanuel Velikovsky), New York Post, Monday, February 23, 1948;
[5] Author: Germany. Ausw?rtiges Amt [Foreign Ministry]. Title: Documents on German foreign policy, 1918-1945, from the archives of the German Foreign Ministry. Akten zur deutschen ausw?rtigen Politik. English Publisher: Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1949- Description: Book v. fold. maps. 24 cm.; Series D, Vol. XIII no. 515. NOTE: You may read the entire document at
[7] Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Edition 1990, Volume 2, Pages 706 and 707, entry Husseini, Hajj Amin Al-
[8] ?Ex-Mufti, Criminal Ally?, by ?Observer? (Immanuel Velikovsky), New York Post, Monday, February 23, 1948.
[9] Milstein , U. 1996. History of the War of Independence: A Nation Girds for War. Vol. 1, New York: University Press of America. (pp.155-156)
[10] Shapira, A. (1992). Land and Power, New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press.(p.110)
[11] Library Of Congress Country Study - Israel; (Click on the heading ?The Arab Community During The Mandate?)
[12] Library Of Congress Country Study - Israel; (Click on the heading ?The Arab Community During The Mandate?)
[13] "The [1929] riots [in Palestine] were accompanied by militant Arab slogans such as... 'Palestine is our land and the Jews our dogs...' [and] brutal acts by Arabs...such as the killings in Hebron, where small children were tortured by their murderers before being murdered. ...the Jewish community in Palestine found itself caught up in a wave of violent disturbances that swept with a fury through Jewish settlements and neighborhoods throughout the length and breadth of the country. The danger now appeared to threaten the very survival of the entire Jewish community." ? Shapira, A. 1992. Land and Power, New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, (p.174)
[16] The following quote, from the Egyptian magazine al-Ahram, makes clear the central role the Mufti played even after he had been exiled: ?On the eve of the [1947] UN Partition Resolution, Jaffa?s Arab population numbered over 70,000. By and large they supported the traditional Palestinian leadership headed by Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti, though he himself had been exiled and was then residing in Cairo. To organise resistance, two members of the Arab Higher Committee, Sheikh Hassan Abou Al-Seoud and Rafiq Al-Tamimi, were sent to Jaffa to supervise the establishment of a National Committee. The composition of the Jaffa National Committee reflected the rather conservative leanings of the majority, though it did include some younger people who stood for less conservative trends. Besides the supporters of Haj Amin, there was also a Christian representation and some elements from the City Council. The Mayor, Dr. Youssef Heikal, was excluded because he was considered to be an enemy of the traditional supporters of Haj Amin, and a supporter of king Abdullah.?;
[17] Sachar, Howard Morley, A History of Israel : From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time; Howard M. Sachar. 1982, c1979. (p.682)
[18] Al-Quds (Palestinian daily newspaper) Aug, 2, 2002
[20] Sachar, Howard Morley, A History of Israel : From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time; Howard M. Sachar. 1982, c1979. (p.698)
[21] See Part 1 of this article, at: /article.php3?id=2322
[22] Sachar, Howard Morley, A History of Israel : From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time; Howard M. Sachar. 1982, c1979. (p.698)